Judging or Evaluating?

13 Dec

Question… what’s the difference between judging and evaluating?  (Think about your answer before you read on.)

I’ve posed this question to numerous groups.  Typically answers include…

  • Evaluating is more data driven or factual
  • Judging is adding your opinion
  • Evaluation is objective
  • Judging is usually about personal perspective
  • Evaluating often includes input from the source
  • Judging includes added meaning  (extending what you know to what you think it means)
  • Evaluation is a process
  • Judging is drawing conclusions

FYI, I do think there is a difference between judging and using good judgment, for instance choosing to order a glass of water instead of a third glass of wine at happy hour might be considered good judgment if you are driving home anytime soon.

What I’m thinking about are all of the subtle, possibly unconscious, acts of judging we do in a typical day.   For example:

  • You see a person standing on a street corner with a sign indicating they’d like you to give them money.   What goes through your head?  Are your thoughts evaluative or have you added a degree of opinion, personal perspective and/or meaning (such as “this person looks perfectly capable of working – they should go find a job, by the size of that person I don’t think he/she is starving to death, etc.)
  • You see an adult with a couple of kids in public.  The kids are out of control and the adult isn’t doing anything about it, or they are screaming at the kids.  What are your thoughts?  Actions?
  • A person that you don’t particularly like is:  late, whispering with someone, not returning email as quickly as you think they should, dressed ‘like that’ or texting during a meeting. Do you assess them differently than people you like?  Are you adding personal bias?  Could there be a perfectly innocent, logical reason for their behavior?

Let me ask you this, are you helping the other person be the best they can be?  Are you loving them unconditionally?  At the end of the day, are you proud of your behavior?  Funny thing about judging, it often boomerangs’ back at you.

Starting with a more objective, evaluative posture, might increase your willingness to gather objective information, see more options and offer the benefit of doubt.

Today’s point of choice:

  1. Stop!
  2. Think about what you are thinking about.
  3. Ask yourself, “Am I evaluating or judging?”
  4. Ask yourself, “Is this in line with who I want to be?”

2 Responses to “Judging or Evaluating?”

  1. Brady Wilson December 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    I know I have slipped into judgement when I sense my need for justice to be served to the person. At this point, I begin to pronounce a sentence, “How could he be so thoughtless to my friend. I hope somebody does that to him some day – big time- so he can see how it feels.”

    • Anonymous December 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      Thanks Brady – I had a conversation with a friend this evening about this topic. She explained it as; judgment is when it’s really all about me, evaluation is when I’m taking the greater good and whole into consideration. More food for thought.

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